Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals: May Day!

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The Kansas City Royals’ Monday night’s loss to the Padres was an absolute punch to the gut.  Losses like that hurt.  Greg Holland gave up a game-tying dinger in the 9th and then the Louis Coleman gave up the game-winner in the 12th.

Unfortunately, that loss seemed to sum up a lot of the Dayton Moore era.  So close…yet, so very far away.  Yes, it was a tough loss.  And yes, the Royals are still winless in May. {Editor’s note – this was written before the end of last night’s late game in San Diego, in which the Royals won 3-1.}

I’ve made it perfectly clear how I feel about Ned Yost’s managerial capabilities.  Yost has a .463 winning percentage since taking over as the manager of the Royals.  He began managing the Royals in May of 2010.

The “small sample size” argument is out the window.  Here’s how the Royals have done in the month of May (excluding Yost’s first partial season)…

May 2011 – (10-17)
May 2012 – (15-13)
May 2013 – (8-20)
May 2014 – (0-5)

But does this mean the Kansas City Royals are in for another brutal May?  No, not necessarily.  What does their 14-17 record mean for them?  Here are the records for the last 10 World Series champions through their first 31 games…

2013 – Boston Red Sox (20-11)
2012 – San Francisco Giants (15-16)
2011 – St. Louis Cardinals (17-14)
2010 – San Francisco Giants (18-13)
2009 – New York Yankees (15-16)
2008 – Philadelphia Phillies (17-14)
2007 – Boston Red Sox (21-10)
2006 – St. Louis Cardinals (19-12)
2005 – Chicago White Sox (24-7)
2004 – Boston Red Sox (19-12)

Long story short, there’s nothing conclusive when comparing the Royals’ 14-17 mark to these teams.  And that’s actually a good thing for the Royals.  A 14-17 record and six games back in May is no reason to panic.

It’s not the end of the world.  But Royals fans are programmed to expect the doom and gloom.  Twenty-eight years of non-playoff baseball will do that to a fan base.

There is a difference between panicking and making the moves necessary to turn things around.  Here are five things GM Dayton Moore needs to do if he wants to make sure things don’t snowball and get out of hand in May.

1)  Fire Ned Yost.  I love hate to keep beating this dead horse, but he has taken this team as far as he can.  He is not a winning manager.  In 11 seasons as a manager, he has finished .500 or better just four times.

That’s not the guy you want calling the shots when your team is loaded with a bunch of 20-somethings who are trying to learn how to win baseball games.

2)  Leave Danny Duffy in the rotation.  Sounds simple, but he’s a starter.  He needs to stay a starter.  Flip-flopping him between the bullpen and the rotation is a waste of a resource.  The rotation is not better with Bruce Chen.  Moving Duffy back and forth will only stunt his growth as a pitcher.  Ask Daniel Bard and Joba Chamberlain how it worked out for them when their team couldn’t decide on their role.

3)  Send Mike Moustakas down.  The fans have a great time chanting “Moooooose” during the games, but that doesn’t quite provide enough value for the team.  He is up to 1,598 plate appearances in the big leagues.  His career average is .238.  He has struck out 278 times.  He has walked just 102 times.  His career OPS is .673.  He doesn’t need to be George Brett.  He’ll obviously never be that.  But he needs to be better.  A trip to AAA can’t hurt.

4)  Find a slugger.  The lack of home runs from this team is both alarming and historic.  The team’s 3-4-5 hitters have a combined three home runs.  Three.  Three!  Frankly, no one outside of Yordano Ventura and Salvador Perez is untouchable.  Something has to be done to help with this anemic offense.  Opposing pitchers simply aren’t afraid of anyone in this lineup.  There has to be a threat somewhere.  Anywhere.

5)  Bring on a new hitting coach.  And no, I don’t mean another trial period with George Brett.  The Royals are next-to-last in the A.L. in runs scored.  They are next-to-last in Slugging Percentage.  They are dead last in home runs with 13.  They are 12th in the A.L. in walks.  One of two things is happening.  Either Pedro Grifol has a horrible approach to hitting that he’s advocating, or the team is simply ignoring his philosophy.  Either way, it isn’t working and something needs to be done.

None of these moves would guarantee anything.  But refusing to do something is much worse than making a bad move.  The Kansas City Royals aren’t doomed.  We are still in the first week of May.

If this were an NFL season, we’d only be starting the fourth game of the season.  There is so much baseball left to be played.  No need to panic.  Yet.

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Tags: Danny Duffy Kansas City Royals Mike Moustakas Ned Yost

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